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Bishops say Philippines moving towards legal abortion MANILA: Church leaders in the Philippines said on Saturday that an impending birth control law aimed at reducing poverty in the conservative nation was one step towards legalising abortion.   In a letter penned by bishops to be read at Sunday mass in churches across the mainly Catholic country, they said the Reproductive Health Bill promoted pre-martial sex and threatened the "moral fibre" of the country.   "The Reproductive Health bill, if passed into law in its present form, will put the moral fibre of our nation at risk a contraceptive mentality is the mother of an abortion mentality," they wrote in the pastoral letter, which was posted on the website of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.   The bill paves the way for sex education in schools and the provision of free contraceptives in a country with one of Asia's fastest-growing populations.   It was passed by the lower house of parliament on Thursday and ...

Iran sympathises after TEHRAN: Iran was quick on Saturday to express condolences after the "tragic" shooting rampage that left 26 people dead, including 20 small children, at an elementary school in the United States.   Foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast condemned the "tragic incident" and expressed sympathy with the families of the victims, the state broadcaster's website IRIB reported.   He also called on American society to mobilise against "warmongering and the massacre of innocent people anywhere, through terrorism, whether state-sponsored or ...
Australia police withdraw from East Timor DILI: Australia withdrew its last remaining police officers from East Timor Saturday as international forces wind up a 13-year presence in Asia's youngest nation, where thousands have died in political turmoil.   The eight Australian officers serving with the UN Police boarded a Darwin-bound plane from the capital Dili as the United Nations prepares to officially end its peacekeeping mission by December 31.   International forces began pulling out in earnest in October, when the UN handed policing responsibility ...
Australia plans drill of ancient Antarctic ice core SYDNEY: Australia Saturday announced plans to drill a 2,000 year-old ice core in the heart of Antarctica in a bid to retrieve a frozen record of how the planet has evolved and what might be in store.   The Aurora Basin North project involves scientists from Australia, France, Denmark and the United States who hope it will also advance the search for the scientific "holy grail" of the million-year-old ice core.   The project, in a area that harbours ...
Top Paris hotels woo rich Chinese with tea, noodles PARIS: Top French hotels are offering extra touches such as dried noodles and a bigger tea selection to attract affluent Chinese tourists who prefer to stay in cheaper lodgings near the airport when they visit Paris to shop.   According to the Boston Consulting Group, wealthy Chinese visitors to the French capital use 20 percent of their trip budgets for accommodation and blow twice as much on shopping - the opposite of Americans' spending patterns.   "The priority is ...
IAEA confident of nuclear deal with Iran in January VIENNA: The chief UN nuclear inspector said on Friday after talks in Tehran that he expects to reach a deal with Iran in January on outstanding issues over its controversial atomic programme.   "We have agreed to meet again on 16 January next year, where we expect to finalise the structured approach and start implementing it then shortly after that," Herman Nackaerts told reporters at Vienna airport.   Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012 ...
North Korea rocket MANILA: Long-time allies the United States and the Philippines on Thursday blasted North Korea's "provocative" rocket launch as a threat to regional security and pledged to strengthen their military ties.   In a statement following bilateral talks attended by top diplomats and security officials, the two countries vowed to boost cooperation in the wake of Pyongyang's move.   They agreed to bolster joint efforts relating to maritime security, disaster response, law enforcement and cyber-security, and non-proliferation (of nuclear weapons), ...

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Banking Review 2013

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.380 bln
Exports $2.181 bln
Imports $4.561 bln
WeeklyNovember 13, 2014
Reserves $13.268 bln